Last week I began my synopsis of the BBC documentary, The Truth About Alcohol, on YouTube with Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim. This is not a review of the film, just the things I learned and thought would be interesting for others to think about. Last week I shared the new alcohol limits set by the UK Chief Medical Officer and some of the tests Abdelmoneim and others went through.

My Takeaways Part Two

In the film the thought is that all the red wine consumed by the French counter-balances the rich foods they consume. Polyphenols, which comes from skins and seeds, are supposed to be good for us. Can the blood vessels dilate more after drinking red wine, and thereby decrease cardiovascular effects? The conclusion was yes, red wine has some benefit for the heart.

Abdelmoneim went on to test five red wines and one white to see how much polyphenols they contain. The white came in the least amount of polyphenol compounds. Cabernet Sauvignon came in second behind an Italian wine. You can get polyphenols from foods – so you don’t need to drink more – walnuts, dark chocolate, apple, tea, almonds, blueberries, coffee, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain cereals all have polyphenols in general.

As far as a protective effect for heart disease, this only showed as significant for women, but you are still not to drink any more than the recommendation.

Does a night cap help a person to drink? Abdelmoneim went to a sleep center to find out. His own sleep patterns were measured, and he brought his own whisky for a nightcap. Before sleeping he was told that alcohol works better for the young, beginning at 40 or 50 years of age it disrupts the sleep patterns. His sleep video showed lots of tossing and turning and the data told that as the night progresses he didn’t sleep as well. So it may help you fall asleep deeply, but then sleep lighter later on, a “rebound” effect.

Hangovers – who gets them the worst and what works? Little real research has been done so people have found their own remedies. Abdelmoneim met with another doctor to look at different ideas, a single pill before – with star flower oil and about as beneficial as an ibuprofen - and fried food after to restore lost sugars. Both ideas are tested in two different groups and “some serious drinking” at a brewery. They found that after drinking, and taxi rides home, the next day the group that had the pill felt better than those that had a big breakfast in the “fryer group.”

Popular drinks were also analyzed to see which would leave the worse hangover. Darker the drink, except whisky, seems to be the consensus of what to avoid if you are susceptible to hangovers.

Back to the beginning of this film, the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sally Davies of England, and her counterparts, met with Abdelmoneim. Her biggest issue in making the new recommendation was the link of alcohol consumption to a broad range of cancers. Alcohol damages cells and hormone levels. Conclusion: the risk is greater if you drink over the recommendation. If you stop drinking all together, the risk is zeroed out.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com